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Texas Rangers on scene Tuesday

In the right field, outer concourse of BB&T Coastal Field, another arrow was added this past winter in a crossroads of signs pointing to certain destinations.

"Rangers Ballpark in Arlington: 1,160 miles," the arrow affirms, along with other pointers to places to such as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and the beach.

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome two groups of guests Tuesday night, when its new Major League affiliate, the Texas Rangers, plays the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers baseball team.

Tyler Maun, director of the Pelicans' broadcasting and media relations, and Jen Borowski, who oversees the club's promotions, said team officials are excited for this four-year partnership. They said management of the 2010 American League champions has reciprocated with enthusiasm, as shown by the Rangers scheduling this exhibition game a day before facing their Triple-A club in Round Rock, Texas, before opening the season April 1.

Maun said Pelicans officials have not found any other instance of a Major League club playing a game in South Carolina, which only magnifies the milestone.

This commitment by the Rangers, Maun said, to introduce themselves by bringing their full roster - with 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton and All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus, a former Pelican - has made the Myrtle Beach farm club feel like family from the get-go.

Never forgetting

"We won't let go of our past," Borowski said, noting the respect for the Pelicans' only parent team since 1999, the Atlanta Braves . "We're not going to forget that we produce good baseball players."

Maun and Borowski pointed to a wall with several dozen names of former Pelicans who have reached the majors, including Jason Heyward, who lit up BB&T Coastal Field with the Pelicans in 2009 and began anchoring center field for the Braves last April.

Changing affiliations also gives the Pelicans a way to rejuvenate the franchise, and fans will see Rangers prospects climb the ladder, such as those promoted from the Hickory Crawdads in North Carolina, in the lower-Class-A South Atlantic League.

"It's a different set of prospects taking a different route to the major leagues," Maun said. "It's a different brand of baseball."

The Pelicans, though, will retain their own identity, including the same ownership, team colors and logo, as well as on-field entertainment in between innings, such as sumo wrestling, the playing of Rednex's "Cotton-Eye Joe," and Deuce, the base-running yellow Labrador.

"The only thing changing is the on-field product," Borowski said.

With the Pelicans having been the only Atlanta affiliate not owned and named the Braves, Myrtle Beach had some subtle references to the mother club, such as through the Braves farm-club news and the team "Tomahawk Chop" played as a rally theme. Yet, the Pelicans never sported Braves logos on their jerseys, and although Texas T emblems will be spotted on some T-shirts, such as in the gift shop, on the stadium sign on 21st Avenue and at www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com, the home team's local individuality will remain intact, on and off the field.

All-Star caliber

Pelicans personnel are approaching the Rangers' visit with the intensity of hosting the past two California-Carolina League All-Star Games, most recently last summer. More than 6,000 packed the stands for those affairs.

"We want to give these guys a show," Maun said, referring to the Rangers' brass and Pelicans fans.

When he calls the exhibition game on WJXY-FM 93.9 ESPN Radio, Maun expects some "wow" flashes.

"My eyes will be as big as a kid's in a candy store," he said. "When Josh Hamilton walks into the batter's box, that's going to be kind of a moment."

Borowski said all the excitement since teaming up with the Rangers in September has sparked a new slogan among Pelicans personnel: "Baseball's even better at the beach."

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